- Paperback: 512 pages
- Publisher: Chicago Review Press; Reprint, Unabridged edition (1 May 2008)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1556527594
- ISBN-13: 978-1556527593
- Product Dimensions: 14 x 2.5 x 21 cm
- Average Customer Review: 61 customer reviews
- Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 517,379 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
Sword at Sunset (Rediscovered Classics) Paperback – Unabridged, 1 May 2008
Customers who bought this item also bought
Customers who viewed this item also viewed
Enter your mobile number or email address below and we'll send you a link to download the free Kindle App. Then you can start reading Kindle books on your smartphone, tablet, or computer - no Kindle device required.
To get the free app, enter your mobile phone number.
"A book of great beauty, of fine writing, of the evocation of a time past. . . . A book for the appreciative, mature reader." -- Library Journal
"[Sutcliff] is an effective storyteller and knows how to keep her dialogue terse and believable. . . . There are many fine battles in Sword at Sunset, and they are described with majestic eloquence." --Orville Prescott, The New York Times
"[King Arthur] is a living presence who moves in a brilliantly lit and fantastic landscape . . . rich and sumptuous as the world described in Mabinogion, as gay and menacing as The Tale of Genji . . . Rosemary Sutcliff is a spellbinder." --Robert Payne, New York Times Book Review
"The gritty realism and emotional power of Rosemary Sutcliff's writing places Sword at Sunset in a place of its own . . . leaves you convinced that if the story of King Arthur is more history than fantasy, this must be the way events really occurred . . . makes other versions of the legend pallid by comparison." --Green Man Review
"A good story, swift, various, and at all times exciting. . . . Miss Sutcliff has a sure hand with heroism and pathos." --Times Literary Supplement
About the Author
Rosemary Sutcliff wrote more than 40 historical novels for young adults--including The Eagle of the Ninth, The Silver Branch, The Lantern Bearers, The Sword and the Circle, and Black Ships Before Troy--five adult novels, and several books of nonfiction.
What other items do customers buy after viewing this item?
Top customer reviews
There was a problem filtering reviews right now. Please try again later.
The narrative follows the familiar outlines of the Arthurian material - most of the characters and situations are recognizable - but stripped of the chivalric gloss of Malory or Tennyson.
Arthur,as portrayed here is the ultimate tragic hero. He rides around the ex Roman province of Britain with his company of dedicated followers desperately trying to save his land and culture from foriegn invasion. He has his moment of hubris at the victory of Mount Badon, Which Ms Sutcliffe, not implausibly, identifies as the Uffington White Horse, a place clearly significant to both Celts and Saxons.
But then he is betrayed by those closest to him, and in the end feels that the only one of the younger men worthy of respect is his arch enemy, the mysterious Saxon warlord with a Celtic name, Cerdic.
This is great storytelling. Whether it has any relationship to fact, who can say. This was a Dark Age indeed. The story is, from the start, overshadowed by the knowledge of the dreadful events to come. Arthur, or Artos the Bear, knows his fate, but battles on regardless. Truly a hero.
If you enjoy this story, you should, if you possibly can, track down a copy of Alfred Duggan's "Conscience of The King" his novel about Cerdic. This paints an equally convincing, but much more sombre picture of the same era, and gives more mundane reasons for Arthur's ultimate failure.
I was fortunate enough to read both these books almost simoultaneously, when Sword At Sunset was first published. They fired in me an interest in the Dark Ages which has never died.
Since the 1960's when this was written the thinking about post Roman Britain has changed considerably. There is now a view that probably no massed Anglo-Saxon invasion/migration ever took place, and that instead competing local chiefs and petty kings fought each other for dominance following the departure of the Romans (some even say they didn't leave). In doing so these leaders recruited mercenary bands to further their own ends. It was out of this period that the legend of Artos came; if he existed he was as likely to have fought alongside these 'invaders' as against them.
That in no way detracts from this book. In my view it is essential reading for those who love historical fiction, and carries with it a sense of deep authenticity, and an understanding of the impact on societies of seismic historical changes. Wallace Breem created the same effect in Eagle in the Snow.
Read The Sword at Sunset. it's moving, inspiring and above all a great read.
Recently I saw it was available on Kindle and immediately bought it. Once again I settled down to read it. Again I put it down after one chapter.
This was for a different reason. I was overwhelmed by the artistry and mastery of the writing. I was caught and entranced, swept into a lost time and a tale which would take me beyond myself and my world.
In that first chapter I knew I was in the company of a man with many strengths and many failings. His destiny would forge him into a hero, a shining beacon for his people. He would lead a doomed dream of defiance and hopeless hope. I gulped and started to read the rest of the book. I could barely put it down.
Rosemary Sutcliff has rewritten the epic of Arthur for the modern age. She chose to place the novel in a time when a character such as Arthur may have lived, the century after the Romans left Britain when the scent and semblance of their power still lingered in towns and palaces and in the hearts and minds of a few.
Artos, the protagonist of Sword at Sunset, was one of the men who held fast to the dream of Rome.
Taking the novel out of the fanciful medieval setting enabled Sutcliff to bridge the gap between the man and the hero. She was able to blend the epic with an intimately personal novel about a man whose dedication to a noble cause could only come at a terrible personal price.
The plot of the novel is superb, the characters fascinating and beautifully realised. I don't know how she was able to pack so much punch into every line. Her descriptions of the country are wonderful, her insights into the hearts and minds of her characters humane and clear-sighted. She maintains a light but firm grip on a lengthy narrative which spans twenty years and a thousand miles. Her descriptions of love, friendship and the terrors of battle are breathtaking.
I know of no other novel which captivates me so much that I believe I am walking in the world it describes. It is a masterpiece.
Would you like to see more reviews about this item?
Most recent customer reviews